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Miami Beach police debut body cameras

40 officers to take part in 3-month pilot program to test body cameras

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MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – The Miami Beach Police Department is debuting body cameras on its officers Tuesday.

Police said 10 motorcycle squad officers will initially be equipped with the cameras, with another 30 officers to wear the cameras in the next few weeks.

Police said the 40 officers will take part in a three-month pilot program to test the new technology.

The program costs about $3 million over five years. But the police chief told Local 10 News that this is well-worth the investment, because it'll make everything more transparent.

"It's going to capture what we do on a regular basis," Miami Beach Police Chief Daniel Oates said.

The cameras will be placed on the officers' chest, and they'll have to tap the middle button twice to turn it on and start recording.  Once it's recording, they'll get a 130 degree view of what's going.

Officers will be trained to turn on the cameras whenever they're interacting with someone, or if they're on an investigation. 

"Organizationally, we're going to have to produce that material for subpoenas and those kinds of things, so there's a lot to learn," Oates said.

Everything that ends up getting recorded will stay on file for 90 days, unless force was used, or if it's part of evidence -- then it could stay on file for years.

The chief also stressed that this is still a pilot program, and there could be some policy changes along the way.

Follow Jenise Fernandez on Twitter @JeniseFernandez

Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10

About the Author:

Amanda Batchelor is the managing editor for Local10.com.